The Colombian Military Forces are keeping up the fight against narcotrafficking carrying out operations within the frame of the Ayacucho Joint Strategic Campaign Plan, the military plan that supports the government’s “Total Peace” effort. These include the destruction of drug processing laboratories, cocaine seizures, and the capture of criminals, among other achievements aimed at weakening the strongest narcotrafficking links.
From January 1 to November 9, 2023, the Military Forces seized 151 cocaine laboratories, destroyed 2,050 coca paste laboratories and more than 23 million coca bushes in seedbeds, and captured 12,563 people, according to figures provided to Diálogo by the Military Forces’ General Command. They also seized 24,846 kilograms of coca base paste, 395,979 kg of cocaine, 172 kg of heroin, and 574,947 kg of coca leaf.
Among the most recent operations to showcase Colombia’s efforts in combating this phenomenon is the dismantling of a narcotrafficking network in the city of Santa Marta, Magdalena, in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, on November 4. The interagency operation between the Colombian Navy and the Technical Investigation Corps of the Attorney General’s Office resulted in the capture of aliases Junior, W, Mario, and Comando, who belonged to a group that engaged in financing, stockpiling, transporting, and contaminating container ships with narcotics in different Colombian ports bound to countries in South America, Central America, and Europe.
On October 20, troops from the Command Against Drug Trafficking and Transnational Threats destroyed more than 5.8 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, 7.5 tons of coca paste, and 30.3 kg of heroin, in a series of operations carried out in the departments of Bolivar, Nariño, and Norte de Santander.
Similarly, in mid-September, in the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia and Santa Catalina in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, the Military Forces seized nearly 3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, with the participation of the Colombian Navy, the Colombian Aerospace Force (FAC), and partner countries’ intelligence agencies. To this blow to narcotrafficking is added another one in late September, when, also in this Archipelago, the Navy carried out an operation with the FAC and U.S. forces that resulted in the seizure of 1,235 kg of cocaine hydrochloride that was being transported in a speedboat bound to Central America.
“[To achieve this result it was necessary to carry out] more than 10 hours of maritime interdiction procedure to a go fast type boat,” Colombian Navy Captain Carlos Eduardo Solano Prada, commander of the Specific Command of San Andrés and Providencia, told the press. Five Colombians were captured in the operation.
The Colombian Navy also achieved great results in the Pacific, seizing in different operations 4,427 kg of drugs that were being transported to Central America in four different vessels.
The Colombian government’s National Drug Policy, which has a 10-year projection (2023-2033), anticipates a reduction of 90,000 hectares of illicitly used coca by 2026, or a 43 percent decrease in cocaine production. It also aims for the voluntary eradication of 69,000 hectares and 23,000 hectares of high-yield industrial crops, which will be forcibly eliminated, according to the Presidency of the Republic’s website.